Helton's Homer in Ninth Stuns Dodgers

DENVER, COLORADO-- Although there were only 23,000+ fans in Coors Field, when the ball left Todd Helton's bat with two out in the last of the ninth, their roar could be heard in Los Angeles and certainly by the DBacks in Arizona and the Padres in Pittsburgh. The drive changed a 7-6 Dodger lead to an 8-7 Rockies win and drove a dagger into the heart of the L.A. chances.

The Dodgers had taken an 8-5 lead in the top of the eighth but a two run home run in the bottom of the inning off Jonathan Broxton and Helton's two-run bomb in the ninth changed all of that. It gave Colorado a sweep of the day-night double-header and boosted them into a tie with the Dodgers for third place in the N.L. West. And with both Arizona and San Diego winning, put Los Angeles 5 1/2 behind the DBacks and 4 1/2 behind the Padres with only 12 games to play.

The game had the feel of the 1990s when balls sailed out of Coors Field with frightening regularity. It seemed as if the Rockies had forgotten to put the balls in the humidor to take the kick out of them.

The two clubs combined for 28 hits and six home run, split evenly between them. L.A. squandered 3-0, 4-3, 6-5 and 8-5 leads as six pitchers attempted, and failed, to tame the surging Rockies.

A pair of veterans Mark Redman, making his first start for Colorado, and David Wells, who was hit hard but still in line to run his record to 4-0 before Helton rocked the Dodger nation with his game-winner.

Redman gave up a single to Juan Pierre, committing a balk, allowing an RBI single to Tony Abreu and a three-run homer to Luis Gonzalez, his 15th of the season, in the first inning.

In the bottom of the first, Wells gave up single, double, double, single, double and got out of the inning having allowed only three runs because Matt Holliday tried to go from second to third on a ground ball to shortstop Ramon Martinez and was nailed.

Martinez started at shortstop in place of Rafael Furcal who left the first game when his back stiffened from an injury suffered sliding into a base Sunday.

Pierre beat out a bunt to open the third and scored on Matt Kemp's mammoth double to dead center for a 4-3 Dodger lead. A single by Gonzalez and a walk to James Loney loaded the bases but they stayed that way.

Wells retired nine in a row before a single and Matt Holliday's 446-foot home run, his 33rd of the season and his 100th of his career, gave Colorado a 5-4 in the fifth.

In the sixth former Dodger Matt Herges came into the game with a neat 4-1, 2.77 record and left after three hitters, none of which he retired.

Loney led off and while he didn't hit his drive quite as far (412-feet) as Holliday, his 12th home run landed in the Rockies' bullpen and tied the score. Martinez singled and Mike Liebenthal walked ending Herges night. All three batters he faced would score and his ERA jumped to 3.46.

With two out, Tony Abreu tripled to left-center driving in a pair of runs and the Dodgers regained the lead, 7-5.

D.J. Houlton pitched around a pair of singles in a scoreless sixth and Scott Proctor took over in the seventh got one out, gave up a single. Joe Beimel replaced him to pitch to the left-handed hitting Todd Helton and promptly got him to hit into a double play.

Russell Martin -- who was supposed to be setting the second game out -- came in to catch in the seventh. With one out in the top of the eighth he caught up with a 3-1 pitch and drove it 422 feet over the center field wall for his 18th home run and a three-run lead.

Jonathan Broxton worked the eighth, allowing a quick single and a quicker home run, cutting the seemingly safe 8-5 lead to 8-7. Helped by a diving stop at third by Nomar Garciaparra and a pair of strikeouts.

When the Dodgers failed to score in the ninth, the game and the club's playoff chances were handed over to Takashi Saito.

He got two quick outs, then Holliday singled and on a two-strike pitch, Helton's drive into the Rockies bullpen ended the game and may have ended the Dodgers realistic chances to reach post-season.

Righthander Brad Penny (16-4, 2.88) opposes Colorado's Josh Fogg (9-9, 4.98) tonight at Coors Field.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	    301 003 010-7
Colorado	    300 020 022-8

 Los Angeles	        ab  r   h   bi   ave
Pierre cf	                5   2   3   1   .293
Abreu 2b	        5   1   2   3   .267  
Gonzalez lf            5   1   2   2   .280
 Saito p	                0   0   0   0   .000  
Garciaparra 3b	5   0   1   0   .280
Loney 1b	        3   1   1   1   .326
Martinez ss	        4   1   1   0   .194
Lieberthal c	        2   1   0   0   .230 
 Martin c	               1   1   1   1   .296
Wells p	               2   0   0   0   .143
 Young ph	       1   0   0   0   .412
 Houlton p	       0   0   0   0   .000
 Proctor p  	       0   0   0   0   .000
 Biemel p	       0   0   0   0   .000
 Sweeney ph	       1   0   0   0   .252
 Broxton p             0   0   0   0   .000
 Ethier	               0   0   0   0   .287
   Totals	              39  8  13  8
   Rockies	      39  9  15  9

 2B Kemp (9), Pierre (23). 3B- Abreu (1).
HR- Gonzalez (15), Loney (12), Martin (18).
RBI- Abreu 3 (13), Gonzalez 2 (66), Loney
(55), Kemp (39), Martin (85). LOB- Los
Angeles 6, Colorado 5. DP- 2 Leiberthal 
and Abreu; Abreu, Martinez and Loney. 

 Los Angeles	     in  h  r-er  bb  so  era
Wells	              5.0  8  5-5  1  1  5.40
Houlton	              1.0  2  0-0  0  1  3.80
Proctor	              0.1  1  0-0  0  1  3.54
Biemel	              0.2  0  0-0  0  0  3.98
Broxton	              1.0  2  2-2  0  2  2.77
Saito (1-1)	      0.2  2  2-2  0  1  1.49
 T- 2:57. Att- 23,271.


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